Welcome to our all-on-one-page on-line course on the effortless practice of abiding in, and living from, the Aware Presence within -- your essential unborn nature -- the Source of true freedom, love, joy and tranquillity.
How fortunate you are to have found this page, or maybe it has found you at long last!
But how much more blessed you will be if you understand and practice what is taught here.
The greatest blessedness of all, however, will be the sublime Presence that will be constantly enjoyed when you make the practice outlined below the guiding habit of your life.
Here we offer once-secret step-by-step teaching on how to live from one's true Identity or Presence and practice this Presence every moment of the day.
We recommend that each section be considered in sequence. The following sub-head links may be helpful for review purposes.
Getting Ready to Start
Your Teacher is Within
What is Presence?
The Egoic Self
The Importance of Effortlessness
Preparing to Meditate
The First Part -- Conscious Breathing
The Second Part -- The Secret Sound
The Third Part -- Surrender To What Is
Space as a Pointer
Questions About the Meditation
The Spider and Flies Analogy
Questions About Presence
Meditation and Sleeping
Your Healing Presence
The Truth Divine
The Wisdom of Prajna
When by infinite grace, it finally dawns on one that Consciousness is all there is, and that That is what we are, and further, what constitutes everything else, this awareness or understanding is soon found to be wonderfully and completely liberating.
But wonderful and as freeing as this great insight is, it's only the beginning, the overture, so to speak, of a rapturous symphony that is meant to follow.
Moving on from the initial awakening to enjoy the entire symphony is what we call the practice of Presence, or more simply, practicing Presence.
It is, without a doubt, the height, the apex, the zenith of spiritual practice and in ages past, only known by a handful of spiritual masters.
In these times, however, this once secret practice has now become accessible to all who have a yearning to live, moment by moment, the sublime truth they have seen.
This practice is for beginners and advanced students of spirituality alike, because it's about realizing (or in-seeing) what you really are and bringing this realization into every moment of your life.
Although the practice taught here is easy and effortless so that anyone can do it, the secret of success lies in doing it over and over again until it becomes an instinctive and completely natural habit of living.
We call this "practicing Presence" because your new freedom, tranquillity and understanding will come from practicing the practice taught here, and not from reading these words.
One of the commonest questions we are asked by inquirers who have just seen for the very first time What they really are, is, "What can I do to embody this awesome truth that I've now glimpsed?"
As we go deeper, we will understand that our life-experience as a body/mind is being lived by the formless Source or Presence that is the Life of all forms, but for the time-being, we will approach spiritual practice as if we are the ones who can decide to do it or not to do it.
The word practice simply means doing something or intentionally taking action to bring our awareness back into the formless dimension of our Beingness while continuing to deal with life in the relative realm of forms.
Without a practice such as this, the conditioned mind pulls us totally into our story and our identity as a separate "me" and keeps us there. This is the cause of all mind-made suffering and personal dysfunctionality.
The purpose of the practice is not to take us out of the realm of forms -- the material world, but to enable us to function more joyfully and freely in it while at the same time being alive to the tranquility of our formless dimension.
When, through the practice, we become plugged in to that Presence which is beyond time and space, infinite resources begin to flow through us into the realm of time and space where we operate as human beings.
We approach the practice with a simple meditation procedure which you can do, first as a separate activity on your own or with a group of like-minded friends, and then, while you are going about your everyday work and leisure pursuits.
The perfect practice is to be able to do it -- that is, to practice Presence -- anywhere, at anytime, along with any other activity you're engaged in.
On the other hand, Presence is NOT something that you do. It isn't something separate from you. You are the Presence. Presence is how you "be" in every moment.
Presence is beyond words, beyond thought and concept. The practice takes you beyond thought and concept and into Presence.
Our true nature, Presence, has been covered over by the conditioning, programming, interpretation, and beliefs of our limited mind.
By absorbing so much of our attention, trauma, suffering and stress also keep us from recognising our true nature.
The practice removes these obscurations. It dissolves the effects of trauma, stress and conditioning etc. that keep Presence from being fully experienced.
What is taught here is really nothing new. It is the same wisdom that has been there forever. Only now it comes in a form that is easily accessed by anyone who wishes to do so.
After many years of being totally immersed in the story I thought of as my life, I came to see that the story was not who I really was.
On a day I'll never forget, I suddenly became aware of a vast aware spaciousness at my very center that was not contained by my body or mind.
In that awakening, I knew intuitively that in the still, silent no-thing-ness, the Source of everything that is, was present. Subsequently, I came to think of this inner spaciousness simply as Presence.
Somehow, I recognised this still, silent, tranquil Presence as my true Self and the Self or essence of everything that existed.
Whereas before, I had thought of myself as being separate and apart from everything else, I now realized that this sense of separation was an illusion and that, in reality, everything I was aware of was simply an expression of the same Self that I was.
In short, I knew beyond any doubt that all there is -- manifest or unmanifest -- is the one impersonal Self or Source -- felt or experienced as the aware Presence -- and that there is nothing else whatever!
I saw that this aware Presence was full of everything -- my thoughts, my feelings, my body, the things perceived by my senses, the world, the whole Universe!
Furthermore, I saw that everything was happening right now and not in my story. My story, I now realized, was made up by my mind, mainly from imperfect recollections of the past that were interpreted by the mind's conditioning etc.
Our personal story is inevitably one of guilt, fear, control, blame, attachment, convention and uniformity. The main character in this story, the little "me" is always judging people, things and situations and often is in resistance to the present moment.
On the other hand, the now, experienced simply as Presence, is one of unity, of embracing fully every moment and everything that arises in that moment -- without resistance and without judgment.
To shift from the old story to the now experience is to move from the limited mind's constant judging and resistance to the present moment, to the acceptance and tranquillity of one's true Self,
Living from this true Self is what we call, practicing Presence. In practicing Presence, you embrace life fully, encompassing all, not avoiding or denying anything.
It means embracing the joys and sorrows, the ups and the downs, the anger and the ecstasy. You discover that you are the tranquil capacity for activity of all kinds on every level of life.
Now, instead of the mind's limited capacity, we find that infinite resources are available to meet every situation we face. We observe ourselves responding spontaneously and with confidence to whatever arises.
If this is the kind of life you want to live, then here is a practice that will lead you to the spiritual connection that allows infinite resources to flow into your life-experience.
The practice will take you beyond thought and concept to the Source within, or, as we call it, Presence. Then you will learn to bring this Presence, your True Self, your Oneness with God, this Unity into every moment of your life.
When we rest in pure Presence, we realize its omni-presence. There is no other, no path, no separation, no ego, nothing to forgive, nothing to attain. It's a journey without distance. Come, let us begin this journey.
The best way to start this meditation is with an open mind, a beginner's mind. To have a beginner's mind is like emptying your cup.
That expression comes from a story about a young scholar who came to a Zen master for the deep wisdom teaching. The scholar began by telling the master how much he had already studied and experienced.
The master said nothing and began to serve tea in the traditional way.
From an old iron kettle on a charcoal heater, he ladled boiling water into a tea-pot and then poured steaming tea into the would-be-student's cup.
The master poured and kept on pouring tea, and, of course, it overflowed the cup and ran onto the floor where they were sitting.
Seeing what was happening, the young scholar shouted, "Stop! What are you doing?"
The master replied, "Your cup is already full. How can you receive the teaching?"
Beginner's mind simply means putting aside, for the time being at least, any preconceptions you may have about spiritual practice. It means having an open mind and an open heart to whatever is offered here.
Just having the attitude of a beginner's mind is enough for now. In doing the process of practicing Presence, you will open up more and more.
There is an old saying: "When the student is ready, the teacher appears." And there is a new saying: "When the teaching appears you are ready for it." If you can't see it or understand it, it doesn't appear to you.
Now we are beginning to realize that the teachings and the teachers are not outside of us, though the saviours or gurus out there are still needed by many.
Not everyone can let go of dependence and grasping on to the out there. We have been so conditioned and programmed to living in our made-up reality that we like it, are attached to it and do not want to give it up.
This is very understandable, but the true teachings forever and everywhere have pointed to that which is more than our made-up reality.
The good teachers take you to a level of understanding where you realize that the true teacher is always and only within -- It is Presence ItSelf.
Procedures and practices are to be quickly gone beyond. One of the biggest pitfalls or barriers to spiritual practice is that the ego may creep in and take over spiritual practice for its own ends.
The longer you are in Presence, the more clarity you have. Out of this clarity you will recognize when the ego is trying to take over.
The essence of what is being taught here is the practice of Presence. This is nothing new and has been there forever. What is new is our approach and way of coming back into Presence when the sense of being Presence has been lost.
Even this has been there for the few. Now in this time of accelerated spiritual growth, a new spirituality is emerging which is available to all.
The time is now ripe for this teaching. What was secret before is now being revealed to those who can hear. This method, when used properly, will help to uncover and keep in awareness the pure Presence you are.
Begin now to realize that Presence is your true teacher. Learn to listen to your intuition and what you know is best for you.
Being the knowing creates a clear space of loving Presence that allows all things and all people to be as they are. No greater catalyst for transformation exists.
Presence is not the presence of something or of someone else. Presence is your true Self and is the underlying reality of everything that is. It is the Absolute, your Oneness with God, the universe. It is who or what you really are.
Presence is not separate from you, nor is it some greater being in heaven who is going to punish you if you are bad. The Presence is the Absolute.
This Presence has no beginning, no end, no form, no name, no trace, nothing to compare it to and, yet, it makes up everything that is real.
Thoughts and concepts cannot grasp it. Seeking for it is like chasing a shadow: the harder you try to grasp it, the more it eludes you.
Presence or Awareness is your natural, unborn and deathless Identity. Paradoxically, Presence is also the Source and Substance of everything that arises in awareness -- what you see before you and what you notice about your inner state (thoughts and feelings).
But one thought about it, one judgment, one interpretation and you are lost in what your limited mind has made up about it. You are no longer in the moment. You are caught in the past, separate. Fear arises, and you project with your limited mind in order to protect what you are making yourself up to be.
The body, mind and personality we normally think of as myself is referred to here as the egoic self.
The egoic self is not who we really are. Each body, mind and personality has a beginning and an end. What you really are was never born and will never die -- it is the Presence at the core of your being.
The egoic self is a notion fabricated by our thinking -- it isn't real. Not being real, yet having a made-up existence, it does everything it can to get more power and energy to make it seem as if it was real.
One of the main things that the egoic self does to make itself seem real is judge. The egoic self is constantly passing judgment on everything it encounters.
When we begin the practice, we discover Presence and learn how to abide in that Presence without making judgments of whatever may arise.
When you make a judgment, you represent and recreate whatever arises according to your past conditioning, programming and belief systems.
In the practice of Presence, everything is experienced as it is without making any judgment.
Someone once asked me to define the ego and I said, in a raised voice as if irritated: "Not now!"
The inquirer was naturally taken aback. I then smiled and said: "Now is all there is. 'Not now' is anything that keeps you separated from this moment, your conditioning, programming, judgments, interpretations and reactions. Not now is the ego."
There is reality and then there are the symbols we make up to represent that reality. Reality is presented to us in the moment and then we make a representation of it in our minds. Most of us live in this representation of reality, the not now of the past or future.
Symbols are symbols of something. Symbols point to the reality of something. Thoughts, ideas, concepts and images are all symbols and are all made up by our mind. This is fine. This is how we communicate, learn and grow. It is how our society works.
The problem is that we mistake these symbols for reality. The practice gets us into contact with true reality. Who we really are is Presence.
This mistaking symbols and representations for reality has happened for so long, and we have been so conditioned, programmed and influenced by our made-up reality, that we have forgotten that it is made up. Reality is now so obscured that we have lost awareness of what is real.
Mentally processed words and images make up our belief systems, our programmings and conditionings. These interpretations are the limited mind; it is the 'not now'; the ego; it is the vast river of made-up reality.
As Eckhart Tolle says in his book, A New Earth: "Awareness is the power that is concealed within the present moment. This is why we may also call it Presence.
"The ultimate purpose of human existence, which is to say, your purpose, is to bring that power into this world. And this is also why becoming free of the ego cannot be made into a goal to be attained at some point in the future.
"Only Presence can free you of the ego, and you can only be present Now, not yesterday or tomorrow. Only Presence can undo the past in you and thus transform your state of consciousness.
"And, of course, you cannot be present unless you become friendly with the present moment.
"When you are present, when your attention is fully in the Now, that Presence will flow into and transform what you do.
"There will be quality and power in it. You are present when what you are doing is not primarily a means to an end (money, prestige, winning) but fulfilling in itself, when there is joy and aliveness in what you do."
We are now going to teach you a simple meditation procedure to help you move into and master the practice of Presence.
There have been over 2,000 studies done on the health benefits of meditation; how it relieves stress and how it has healthy effects on our mind and body. These findings are all true and are reason enough to start meditation.
Mostly, when we think of meditation, we think of someone quietly sitting cross-legged on a cushion -- for certain periods of time -- in some special place.
But the sort of meditation we will teach you here can be engaged in with any posture, anywhere and every moment of the day. It can be enjoyed as a particular activity in its own right or while you carry on with everyday work and leisure pursuits.
To distinguish this kind of meditation from other disciplines, we will refer to it simply as True Meditation.
True Meditation is not confined to the guidelines given here as there are other ways of doing it taught by other instructors that are just as valid. However, the process advocated here is the one we have found most effective.
With True Meditation, there are even more reasons to meditate. There is an astounding release of old stress and trauma, and an energizing and centering of our entire being.
This is because, with sustained practice, we find that our vital energy is no longer being absorbed by worry and anxiety or used up in endless rehashing of past memories etc. Positive changes begin to take place in our physiology.
True Meditation is primarily a process of recognizing and being what we really are. We meditate with the intention to consciously be what we are.
This is not something we achieve with strenuous effort, but rather with an effortless redirection of our attention.
Why is effortlessness so important in True Meditation?
Because effort is of the limited mind. What we are learning here is how to go beyond the limited mind and into the Presence we are at centre. Any effort is made by the mind and actually impedes us from being in Presence.
Imagine the resonating note that sounds when a brass singing bowl is struck by a wooden striker. That sound and the silence against which it is heard has a lot to teach us about the effortlessness of our practice.
In your imagination, hear that bowl being struck again. Just listen as the sound resonates and decays. There is nothing that you have to do, affirm or declare. All you have to do is listen.
Notice that the sound is heard against a backdrop of no-sound or silence. When the sound is finally gone, we are aware of the silence once again.
Sounds come and go, but the silence ... always is. Likewise, the aware-silent-stillness at our centre does not come and go, it is eternally present, and therefore, referred to as Presence.
Through the practice of Presence, we effortlessly listen to that which secretly speaks to us in the "inner room of the heart."
This is the same practice as that indicated in Jesus' instruction, "When you pray, go into your room to your Father who is in the secret place" (Matthew 6:6)
To hear, you must listen. Listen to the depth of your being and let go of all the noise and chatter of your limited mind. Let go of all ideas of yourself, all concepts, all thoughts, all grasping, all pushing away. Let go of everything that is not real.
It should be noted, that effortless in this practice doesn't mean no effort at all; effortless means just enough effort to be intentionally present, to be intentionally here and here now.
In this practice, the attention given to the still, silent Presence and all that arises in it is characterised by alertness, vividness, clarity and inner brightness.
So, before we explain the True Meditation procedure, let us lay down a few ground rules.
Don't meditate just after meals or while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
If possible, sit comfortably with a straight back in a quiet place where you won't be disturbed for a while.
Sit in a way that allows you to forget the body. Not to disassociate from it but just to leave it alone.
Gently hold the curved fingers of your left hand between the thumb and curved fingers of your right hand so that the fingers are on top and the thumbs underneath. Then maintaining this position, rest your hands lightly on your lap.
You can sit by yourself or with one or more like-minded friends. If you choose to do this with others, make sure that they have the same interest in the practice of Presence that you do.
What is most important is not so much the physical aspects of our meditation, but our attitude.
Whatever else is the case, it is essential that we approach meditation with an underlying attitude of ease and openness and relaxation.
The True Meditation practice we teach here has three components or parts. The three parts make up one practice. They are conscious breathing, an inwardly heard sound and surrender to what is.
Let us now deal with the first component -- conscious breathing.
The type of breathing we do to be present with Presence is conscious and diaphragmatic. The breath comes in and fills from the bottom up, from below our navel to as full as it wants to go without straining.
Like pouring water into a pitcher, it goes in at the top, and it fills in and rises from the bottom. When you inhale, the belly goes out and when you exhale, the belly goes in.
I often hear people say that when they inhale, their bellies go in. That is because the breath is filling in the chest first. When the chest expands first, the stomach is drawn in.
With a little practice, the correct breathing will become second nature to you. It is very important to breathe in this way.
Be gentle, with no effort and no strain. The breath is silent, the mouth is closed, the tongue rests gently on the roof of the mouth.
The breath is silent, comfortable, easy and feels good. If you get out of breath or need to catch up on your breath, you are trying too hard. Be gentler; conscious breathing will develop at its own pace. The meditation is always done effortlessly and without strain.
This is a natural process. We are developing a long, slow, steady breathing rhythm. The breath will become deeper and fuller. This happens all in its own time.
Strain and effort are of the limited mind and, as far as this process is concerned, would only create more darkness.
There is a oneness of breath and Presence. Soon it becomes so effortless that it is Presence that is doing it. You begin to realize that it is the real you doing it. You begin to realize that the real you is that Presence.
You are Presence breathing. You are maintaining Presence as you are breathing. Now, be in Presence and practice your Presence.
The second part of the meditation is called the sound part, because we use two ancient words or sounds to help take our attention beyond thought and concept and into pure Presence.
These words are just the vehicle that is bringing you into the awareness of Presence. There is nothing magical about them in any way. They are not a mantra. They have no effect. They are beyond cause and effect.
There are some who use these sounds as a (Soham) mantra but that's a minor and insignificant practice compared to what we are teaching here.
This practice is different to other disciplines that concentrate on a mantra to create some specific effect. That is using the mind. It never works to use the mind to go beyond the mind. It's like trying to wash blood off your hands with blood!
The procedure has been around for many centuries, but the real sounds have only been revealed orally from teacher to student.
This was passed on to me by a teacher who received it directly from a highly regarded master in India, and then only after two years intense study and preparation. Now the time has come to share it with you via the Internet.
The seed of awareness was planted a long time ago. Thanks to all the old traditions and teachers that have prepared the soil, the seed is sprouting. What was secret before is being revealed now.
The important thing is that this teaching has now come to you and that you try it and see if it works for you.
So, sitting comfortably with a straight back, breathe evenly, steadily and naturally through your nose (with your mouth closed).
Notice the sounds of inhalation and exhalation made by your steady breathing.
There should be no pause between the inhalation and the exhalation when breath is held. Eliminating the pause is an important part of healthy breathing and doing this part of the meditation.
During transitions between the in and out breaths, the breath slows for a moment, and may be inaudible, but the transition between breaths is actually smooth, and you again hear the next sound of either exhalation or inhalation.
Notice that the sound of inhalation is something like Sooooo as the air first fills your belly area and then your chest area.
Then notice that the sound of exhalation is something like Hummmm as it leaves your body.
The inhalation and the exhalation together will sound something like Sooooo Hummmm.
Hear this sound inwardly as you continue to breathe naturally -- Sooooo Hummmm, Sooooo Hummmm, Sooooo Hummmm.
For the sake of brevity, we will shorten the words to So-Hum, but the sound you hear inwardly as you breathe in this meditation exercise will be the same as before.
Now, once again, bring your attention to the tidal rhythm of your breath, feeling the rise and fall of your inhalation and exhalation.
As your focus settles on your breath, allow yourself to inwardly hear the sounds, So-Hum. As you inhale, hear the gentle sound So, and as you exhale, hear the resonating sound, Hum.
Keep your focus on the sensation of your breath while silently repeating the sacred syllables, So-Hum.
It's very important that when you consciously breathe, you hear So-Hum in the mind, and the breath itself should be as quiet as you can make it.
Let your mind become absorbed in the inward sound of So-Hum -- as if you were watching the waves of the ocean, let your mind be naturally drawn into Presence and Stillness -- no place to go, nothing to do, So-Hum, So-Hum.
The swan is particularly symbolic in nondual spirituality. Its ability to move through water without wetting its feathers alludes to the realised person living his or her life in the world, but largely unaffected by it. The swan's flight represents the Spirit rising above identification with the egoic self.
The Sanskrit for swan is hamsa and in India the title parama hamsa was given to those who abide continuously in Presence. If the two syllables of the word hamsa are repeated often enough, you will soon find you're saying Sa-Ham or So-Hum.
The sacred syllables, So-Hum, have a close connection with, and point to, the English words, I Am. In fact, you could inwardly repeat the words I Am with each breath cycle and it would be almost the same practice.
I say almost, because with I Am, there is a definite tendency for the English speaker's mind to want to grab hold of these familiar words and make a thought out of them.
The mind will want to build on I Am and turn it into I am this or I am that and such thoughts lead our attention away from the formless Presence we are into the realm of forms and some aspect of our story.
Nevertheless, the secret words, So-Hum or I Am, when used correctly, will take you beyond all thought and concept, all feelings, emotions and perceptions into Presence.
When you get there, you realize that you are and have always been that Presence.
You see that you are not in something called Presence, but that everything is in you, because you are aware Presence -- aware of everything that comes into your world.
If an intrusive thought arises, focus on your breathing again, and allow yourself to inwardly hear So Hum in time with each incoming and outgoing breath.
Astoundingly, by using this special sound in an effortless manner, we tune in to and resonate with Presence. As this happens, thoughts and concepts float by and disappear like clouds.
The third part is the most important component of True Meditation. If this part isn't understood and exercised the conscious breathing and the inward sounding of So-Hum will be a waste of your time.
You can breathe consciously and So-Hum until the cows come home, but it won't do you a scrap of good until it is coupled with the sublime art of surrender.
Surrender to what is -- as it is is the key element in True Meditation that makes it so powerful and transforming.
Here's the reason why.
When you react against the form that Life takes at this moment, when you treat the Now as a means, an obstacle, or an enemy, you strengthen your own form identity, the egoic self.
Hence the ego's reactivity. What is reactivity? Becoming addicted to reaction. The more reactive you are, the more entangled you become with form. The more identified with form, the stronger the egoic self.
Your Presence then does not shine through form anymore -- or only barely.
Surrender does not transform what is, at least not directly. Surrender transforms you. When you are transformed, your whole world is transformed, because the world is only a reflection of your inner state.
The essence of True Meditation is to allow everything to be just as it is -- to allow everyone to be just as they are.
So, as you sit there, your hands resting lightly on your lap, consciously breathing and inwardly hearing the gentle So-Hum, with every breath cycle, in and out, surrender to the Isness of this moment.
You have a cold -- it is as it is. Your relationship with your partner isn't perfect -- it is as it is. You have certain gifts and talents -- it is as it is.
Surrender to this moment, as it is -- to every contraction, to every painful remembrance, to every identification with my story, to every anxious concern -- Surrender by taking a conscious breath -- So-Hum, and then another, and then another.
Whatever is or happens is the form that the Now takes.
As long as you resist it internally, form, that is to say, the world, is an impenetrable barrier that separates you from who you are beyond form, separates you from the formless one Life that you are, from Presence.
When you bring an inner yes to the form the Now takes, that very form becomes a doorway into the formless Presence. The separation between the world and God dissolves.
Through nonresistance to form, that in you which is beyond form emerges as an all-encompassing Presence, a silent power far greater than your short-lived form identity, the person. It is more deeply who you are than anything in the world of form.
When you're fully present and people around you manifest unconscious behavior, you won't feel the need to react to it, so you don't give it any reality.
Your peace is so vast and deep that anything that is not peace disappears into it as if it had never existed. This breaks the karmic cycle of action and reaction.
Everybody you come in contact with will be touched by your presence and affected by the peace that you emanate, whether they are conscious of it or not. Animals, trees, flowers will feel your peace and respond to it.
Furthermore, you teach through being in Presence, through demonstrating the peace of God.
So, stay alert, stay present -- present with your whole Being, with every cell of your body. As you do so, you are bringing Light into the darkness of a largely unconscious world. This is the flame of Consciousness.
At this stage, you don't need to be concerned with surrender anymore. It has happened already.
How? Full attention is full acceptance, is surrender. By giving full attention, you use the power of the Now, which is the power of your Presence.
Review these instructions until they are clear to you and give them a try. Practice it for a while now if it feels right to you.
Space as a Pointer
Here's a simple meditation or practice from Scott Kiloby you might like to try ...
The word space is a nice pointer. Look with awareness into your inner body. Let awareness feel the inside of your toes, your calves, your knees, your legs, your groin, your stomach and chest, your arms, your shoulders and your head.
Notice that your inner body and mind is one undivided awake space. Notice that the only 'thing' that makes a distinction between the inside and outside of the body is thought. Thought creates an imaginary, solid boundary between "you" and "life."
When thought is looking, there is a boundary. When non-conceptual awareness is looking, it sees no solid boundary. The space in the room or area around the body is the same space as within the body.
As this awake space sees that there is no separation between you and life, Oneness is revealed. This awake space is directly aware of what is, before thought registers or records experience and places it into concepts. Before the thoughts "arm," "body," "me" and "space" arise, there is only the direct, undivided presence. There is only this direct experiencing.
In this direct experiencing, thoughts arise. Emotions arise. These 'things' appear from this space and are therefore not separate from it. Only thought creates a distinction between space and form, between thought and awareness. In seeing that this interplay between space and form is one seamless dance, all there is, is the present play of life -- a total mystery.
~ From: Reflections of the One Life, by Scott Kiloby
Questions About True Meditation
How long should I meditate?
With regard to the initial sitting meditation, it's up to you. This is something that you're doing for yourself. 5 to 15 minutes, once or twice a day should be enough. Set up a schedule and discipline yourself to stick to it.
Of course, if you're meditating with others a mutually convenient time, place and interval will have to be arranged, but that needn't stop you meditating on your own in between gatherings.
Remember, the whole idea of doing the sitting practice is so that you can learn and experience together the three parts of True Meditation.
As soon as you feel you can do this naturally and effortlessly, you can then enjoy the meditation while you are doing other things that don't require your total attention.
For instance, you can decide to breathe consciously, inwardly hear So-Hum and surrender to the Isness of the present moment while, say, you are driving your car.
Eventually, if this habit is maintained, there will come a time when you feel you no longer need to do the sitting meditation as the practice has become so much an integral part of your everyday life, that it no longer requires a special time and place.
Before very long, your delighted experience of Presence will be your motivation to continue the practice. That is when every moment will be your meditation. You will find you have become the meditation.
What do I do about unwanted thoughts that arise while I'm meditating?
If you focus on your breathing, the So-Hum and the surrender, and keep the process going steadily, it should be difficult for thoughts to claim your attention.
Nevertheless, if thoughts intrude on your attention, we just let them be there like clouds. What do clouds do? They float by and eventually disappear.
When I say thoughts, I mean anything that arises in the Awareness we are. We don't try to push thoughts away. Nor do we try to grab onto them.
If we push them away or try to manipulate them, we are giving them energy; they become stronger. If we grab on to them, we become more attached to them.
So we just allow them to be there and allow them to float by like clouds. The more we identify with Presence Itself rather than what arises in Presence, the more thoughts can just be there and not bother us.
In the next section, an even better way to handle thoughts and whatever else arises in our Awareness will be indicated. For now, it is sufficient to just let them float by like clouds.
Where do unwanted thoughts come from?
Thoughts that didn't trouble you much before will be noticed now simply because, as you meditate, you are becoming more aware. You are going deeper, your consciousness is expanding. Maybe, those thoughts were there all of the time, but you weren't aware of them. So, that's good.
Now, with more Presence, you can just let the thoughts float by like clouds. Before, they may have had a grab on you and you weren't even aware of it.
Another reason that thoughts come up is that in the process of going deep in meditation, stresses are released and are experienced as thoughts, emotions or physical sensations. In any case, we let them float by like clouds.
If thoughts or other impulses are too bothersome, try going back to conscious breathing and the inner sound, So-Hum, if that is what feels right. This will help facilitate the release of stress or blockages.
I've been meditating twice a day since starting two days ago, and I noticed already that when a situation came up at work that used to completely blow me over, it didn't bother me nearly as much, and that felt really good.
Exactly! That's where you may first experience Presence -- in your daily life. With more direct experience of Presence, you will naturally not be controlled, manipulated or overwhelmed by external conditions.
Shortly, we will teach a method of how to practice Presence in every moment regardless of what matters you have to attend to out there.
Do I need to worry about being overcome with releasing too much stress, trauma and other old stuff all at once?
This meditation is very powerful in releasing stress, old trauma and other blockages stored in the body and mind. In the method taught here, there is no worry of being overwhelmed by a great release of old trauma, stress or blockages of any kind.
Here's the reason why. It's like waking up from a dream. When you're in the dream, it seems real. When you wake up from the dream, you know that it was a dream.
These stored stresses; the after effects of trauma of different kinds, these blockages are like shadows. What happens when you bring light to shadows? The shadows dissolve.
When you wake up from the dream, you wake up from the dream. When the shadows dissolve, the shadows dissolve. There is nothing real to worry about.
The release may be experienced in meditation as a lot of thoughts or fidgetiness, or you just might think that you are not having a good meditation.
The more Presence we experience, the easier it is to simply allow thoughts or whatever else may be there to just be there. Let them float by like clouds.
Later, we will learn something even easier than simply letting them float by like clouds.
How do you not give effort? That seems hard to me.
It's hard because of our conditioning. We have been conditioned to look outside ourselves for what we want, for what we are looking for. Struggle and effort are of the limited mind.
Just let them go. What we are really looking for (to reconnect with the Source or Presence) is not "out there." We all have been so conditioned to think that it is "out there," that we believe it, and in not finding it one tends look all the harder "out there."
In this part of the process we are learning how to allow Presence to emerge through the breath and the mantra. You can only learn by doing it.
These words are guidelines so you can learn the process correctly and effortlessly. Follow these instructions, get a feeling for them and then learn to listen to your intuition.
It's difficult for me to keep a full breath in my belly. Is that right?
No. The breath just starts filling in the belly. A full breath is a full breath. To just hold it in the belly would be a great strain. Effortlessly in time, your breath will develop and open fully, spontaneously.
You'll be amazed. You just thought that you were breathing fully before.
Why is effortlessness so important?
What we are learning here is profound and yet very simple. Simplicity, ease and effortlessness are essential to this practice because complexity, struggle and effort are of the limited mind.
In the process taught here, we learn to go beyond the limited mind. We often need to be reminded of this effortlessness because we are conditioned to try hard, struggle and to look outside ourselves.
Struggle and effort are barriers in True Meditation and to going beyond the limited mind, to being in Presence.
How does this differ from some other practices?
In the practice of True Meditation, we learn to go beyond the limited mind and start from the realization that we are all already that Presence.
The process of True Meditation removes the blockages to the awareness and the realization of Presence.
Many other practices and traditions, start from the mind, thoughts, do's and don'ts, practices of the body and the mind, and because of these practices, we gain merit.
Trying to use the mind to go beyond the mind is like trying to wash blood from your hands with blood -- it doesn't work.
Our thinking that it does work is again the mind/ego using spiritual practice to achieve its own ends.
Because the mind/ego is not real and is just made up, and we are so caught up in its projections, we find it hard to doubt this made-up reality.
True Meditation practice awakens us from this made-up dream, and we realize that we are and always have been Presence, or say, one with God, if you like.
So, the more you meditate, do more truths come to you? Will I have the same knowledge or do I need to study something?
Who you are is beyond knowledge. So, you can only know who or what you are not. Everything you do with the intention of practicing Presence reveals more Presence.
Books cannot do it. Working on the body cannot do it. The mind cannot do it. But, we can bring Presence to all of these things, and all of these things can help in our spiritual growth.
Are you saying that this teaching of True Meditation is the only way?
Not at all. This new spirituality is emerging in every one of us. No longer do we need someone to do it for or to us.
The second coming is not out there in a saviour. The Buddha is not out there.
You don't have the Buddha or Christ nature, you are the Buddha or Christ nature. You are not one who has Presence, you are Presence.
Not only can you say with Jesus, "I and the Father are One," but that you are One with the mother, the brother, the sister, the child suffering somewhere, the happy, the sad, the drunk lying in his own vomit, the trees, the mountains, the rivers, the moon, the sun, the stars, everything!
Everywhere and in every moment and in every situation, we can all truthfully say, That I am.
The truth is here in this practice as it is in many other practices.
If you don't get it through reading this Web page and practicing the meditation recommended, you may at some point be able to recognize the truth somewhere else by some other means.
Beware of anyone saying that this is the only way, or I have it and you don't. Such statements indicate that what they have is not a true understanding of the teaching.
In this lesson, we are going to learn how to extend Presence to everything that arises in it while we go about our daily lives. This will allow us to simply be in Presence every moment so the meditation or practice becomes unceasing.
To help explain how to do this, we will use Tom Pritscher's helpful analogy of a spider at the centre of its web. This is actually a very ancient spiritual symbol.
As you know, the material of the web comes from the spider's body, so in a sense the spider may be taken as the material cause of the web.
Yet again the spider and the web are always separate and distinct entities. While the spider never is the web, at the same time because the spider's body is the source of the web, the web is not different from the spider.
This is pointing to the truth, that God or Consciousness is simultaneously the cause of the world in every sense and yet distinct from and transcendental to the world.
The web is said to be manifest from the Real but is not real itself. "Not real" simply means that the features of the world and every thing in it, including our minds and bodies, are temporary. Reality (or Presence) is that which is eternal:
Because the temporary features of the world seem real and permanent, they entice and entrap people just as flies are caught in the spider's web. But, of course, the things of the world cannot entice or entrap Presence.
Now, to get a picture in your mind, imagine a special spider with a body like a brilliant blue sapphire at the centre of a luminous web -- the web of consciousness.
When we are truly present, we are like this spider in the center of its shining web. If a fly were to come and alight on the web, the spider would go out and meet it, do what it has to do, and come back to the centre of the web.
That is like what we do in extending Presence. When sounds, thoughts or anything else enter our mind-net, we simply, effortlessly, and spontaneously extend Presence to it without making any judgment.
So, when we hear a sound, it is not a good sound or a bad sound. It is not a loud sound or a soft sound. We just extend Presence to it, without judgment, and then come back to our center.
When nothing is entering the mind-net, we can be one with Presence and breath. We are not noting, observing or watching the breath.
When just being in Presence, be in Presence with whatever arises. There is a oneness of Presence and breath.
Whatever else may arise in the mind-net, make no judgment of it, and maintain Presence with whatever is arising.
We don't really extend Presence, but it is like that. It is actually being in Presence while whatever else is going on is going on. But it does seem at first that we extend Presence.
Like the spider going out to meet the fly. We hear sounds closer to their source. We experience thoughts and perceptions as soon as they arise.
The more Presence we have, the more aware we are. The more clarity we have, the closer we connect/experience what is arising in the mind-net to its source, and the more we experience things as they are.
Practicing Presence is making no judgment of these things remembered, imagined, felt, seen or heard etc as they arise. Presence is not overshadowed by our mental reconstruction of what is actually happening.
Extending Presence, as in the analogy of the spider going out to meet the fly, gives you an idea of what the practice is like. But it is only like that. In extension there is no separation.
The limited mind, the self (small "s"), projects. Presence extends. In extension there is no separation. Our Presence is more manifest as the result of the first two parts of the meditation.
When anything arises in the mind-net or web, we maintain Presence as these events are occurring.
When any form, interior or exterior, arises in the mind-net, be in Presence as the arising occurs. Extend Presence to it. Make no judgments. See through the appearances to the reality. Be one with it.
The mind-net is another way of saying the One Mind or True Self.
The One Mind is Presence. So extending Presence is a way of exercising Presence. When exercised in this way, it is as if activated and more there.
Presence is always there. Presence is actually omni-present so, you may ask, how can it be extended?
We extend Presence when we uncover or expose to the Light of Consciousness what was covered over by conditioned thinking, reactivity and resistance to what is.
Words can only point the way to guide you into how to do this process that is beyond words. You learn by doing it.
I remember when I was first learning to ride a bicycle, I just couldn't do it. I saw all the other kids doing it. Why couldn't I do it? It was so hard. I tried so hard. I cried so hard too.
Maybe it was because my feet could not reach the pedals effortlessly. One day, I don't know, I guess that I was ready, it happened. It was easy. What I thought that I would never learn to do, quickly became second nature to me.
Now I could never forget how to ride a bike. Practicing Presence is something like that. Trying too hard is a barrier. To do it right is totally effortless.
The limited mind is not engaged with thinking about it in any way. You just do it.
Can you say some more about Presence and why it is so important for our times?
From the beginning of what we call time until this present moment, there has been, along with the development of matter into life forms and into human DNA, a development of sentience, consciousness and self-awareness to the emergence of Presence in our human beingness.
What a trip this has been, and the best part is yet to come. We are Presence emerging to a glorious blissful union with Itself.
Just as an apple tree makes apples, the cosmos, through human beings, manifests Presence and extends Presence into every situation, occurrence and moment.
What is now becoming more evident is that we are It (Presence) and that we are not separate from one another nor from anything. Everything is It.
All the spiritual teachings of the past has readied the ground and planted the seeds. Now we are ready to flower and come to fruition.
When we needed to develop higher functions of the brain and nervous system, we did. When we needed to develop an ego, we surely did! When we needed the intellect to develop, we developed it.
Whatever system we needed to grow and develop, we grew and developed. We developed the body fully. We developed the mind fully. Now we are developing the next stage of our spirituality, which we call Presence.
Presence has always been there. Faint glimmerings of it have shone through the clouds forever. Myths, archetypes, stories, art, everything has pointed to it.
Saviours, gurus, martyrs, karma, reincarnation, astrology, psychics, shamans, spirit guides, ascended masters, gods, goddesses, belief systems and religions of all sorts, are conjured up by the mind and point to what is beyond the mind -- Presence.
These belief systems are like wombs. Wombs provide whatever it is we need to grow. Wombs are to be born out of.
If you stay in the womb too long, it either feeds off you, or you are strangled by its own life support system.
Before now, the time was right for only those few in monasteries or remote places, with the right teacher at the right time, to understand and practice the deeper teachings of Presence.
The more one practiced this deeper teaching, the more one could understand and practice this and similar teachings.
Why is this teaching being revealed now?
The teaching has always been there. You're ready for it now. Everything that has happened up to this moment, all past teachings, teachers and traditions has readied us for it.
The essence of this teaching is not new. The Truth is always there. What is new is the process or method for our times and the making of this teaching available to all people.
We use the word Presence, not as a concept, but as what we experience in, and as a result of, meditation. It is beyond the experience/experiencer duality.
Presence is who we truly are. It is our true Self. It is not the presence of someone or something else.
The word God and other such words are often concepts and carry many different meanings. The word meditation also has different meanings to different people.
For this reason there is a new word for the meditation being taught here. We call it True Meditation.
I think I understand, it is very subtle. It is like extending my now greater clarity and awareness to sounds, thoughts, feelings or anything that is going on, not making a judgment and returning to my center.
Yes, that is how it starts out. There is no separation in extension. There is no use of the limited mind as in thinking that it is going out, or visualizing that it is going out.
Let's take the example of sound, but it could be thoughts, feelings or emotions. Most people when they hear a sound only hear it after it has happened and has been filtered through their interpretive process.
In other words, the sound has been made into a representation of that sound. In this way, it has been made up by your limited mind.
You do not experience it directly but are reacting to it in some way, whether it is a like or a dislike or whatever. Some judgment is involved.
In the analogy of the spider and flies, our problems or suffering in life are due to the fly getting the spider. When we begin this process of meditation and Presence emerges, we are stronger.
In extending Presence and not making judgment, fly does not get spider, and we experience the sound (or whatever) as it is in the moment.
I don't understand. My problems are due to the fly getting the spider? Flies can't get the spider.
That is exactly right. Flies cannot get the spider. But we humans somehow let the fly get the spider.
When our Presence becomes stronger as a result of meditation, and we extend that Presence, our lives shift from being controlled, manipulated and overshadowed by all those flies to our original state where fly cannot get spider.
When we begin the process of practicing Presence, a deep sense of joy emerges because fly does not get spider anymore, or at least not as much as before.
This happens naturally as a result of meditation. That is the whole difference here. We are not improving our thoughts or our actions or following an instruction manual on how to do or be in a given situation.
We are not coming from the thoughts of our limited mind in any way. We are not trying to avoid or resist anything.
When our Presence grows, it naturally extends, and in the method we are learning here, we facilitate that extension into an active meditation.
It is a non-action action because Presence is doing it. Practicing Presence is effortless. The practice reveals Presence.
Could you say a little bit more about the Spider and Flies analogy above, and how that relates to practicing Presence?
All impulses or forms arising in the limited mind, be they thoughts, emotions, perceptions or sensations are like the flies in the analogy when they appear in that formless spaciousness of who you really are, your true Self or Presence.
This is not to say that our emotions, thoughts, perceptions or anything else that arise in the mind are bad or are to be avoided.
On the contrary, this practice helps you to experience everything fully and clearly as it is as opposed to experiencing everything through your conditioning and programming.
When emotions, thoughts or perceptions are experienced by the limited mind, it makes up representations of them out of its own experience in order to make sense of what is going on.
In doing so, it doesn't directly experience what is real. In this practice you will learn how to go into Presence and how to extend Presence to all these phenomena that come and go in your awareness.
It doesn't feel good to be controlled, manipulated and to live life only as a reaction to events outside of ourselves.
A deep sense of joy emerges from one's discovery of oneself, gained by acting clearly in the moment. Always having to feel good is part of the control and manipulation by circumstances outside us.
It's OK not to feel good. It doesn't always feel good experiencing our feelings. With more clarity, awareness and true strength, we can experience our feelings for what they are, good or bad.
The representations that we make of our feelings can be an avoidance, denial, or a total delusion. The dark side is dark only because of our ignorance of it. Embrace it fully.
By practicing Presence with any thought, feeling of perception that arises in the mind-net, we see through the appearances to what is really there.
What's really there is Presence. To be aware of whatever arises at its source is to be one with it.
Since I began extending Presence, I find that I'm not making judgments so much any more even when I'm not consciously practicing Presence. Is that right practice?
Yes. We don't have to try to change our thoughts and actions. They will naturally change as a result of the spontaneous extension of Presence.
Remember the whole essence of this teaching is that we are already That -- Presence ItSelf -- at all times.
So if we try to change our thoughts, actions or something out there, we are coming from the limited mind and that further confuses and overshadows the natural extension of Presence.
Why limit yourself by making up images of how you want it to be with your limited mind?
The method of extending Presence, this practicing Presence, we can do in every moment and in any situation.
So, this part of the sitting meditation is a transition from getting into or being in Presence to extending Presence into every moment and every area of our lives.
The great beauty and joy in this is that Presence is who we truly are. It is our true Self.
When we first notice that the flies are not getting the spider like they used to, we notice that this is a result of increased Presence, and that feels good, real good.
We now have the strength and ability to go through our pain, suffering and grief. We have the ability to go through and experience our feelings and emotions.
In practicing Presence, when fear, terror or anything else arises, we do not judge it, or add to it, give it more energy or grasp harder on to it.
With greater awareness and clarity, we experience emotions in the moment, as they arise, and they do not get projected or blown up into horrendous experiences that we must then avoid or deny.
There is this great deep sense of joy that enters into your life. No longer are you being controlled and manipulated, but now you begin to see how the controlling and manipulating influences have overshadowed your Presence.
By meeting these incoming things with Presence and making no judgments, you are no longer controlled and manipulated by them. You experience them as they are.
You no longer suffer as a result of the control and manipulation. These incoming impulses cannot overshadow Presence, unless you let them.
It is still not quite clear what "extending Presence" is. Can you say a little more about it?
Let's again take the example of sounds that we hear, and when I say sounds, this could apply to any thought, feeling, or sensory perception arising in the mind.
The sound can get to you and you can react to it after filtering it through your interpretive processes. Extending Presence to that sound before it gets to you is like hearing the sound closer to its source.
You can get really good at it -- hearing it closer and closer to its source. It is much more difficult with your own thoughts, self doubts, criticisms, anger and fears.
Of course you are hearing it inside your head according to the physiology of the hearing process. That is exactly part of the point. We have never heard anything outside of ourselves.
We have never seen anything outside of ourselves. It is all energy seemingly out there that we are trying to make sense of.
On a spiritual level, it is as if we are trying to heal the seeming separation. That is why we have made up what we have made up, to heal the separation.
There really is no separation because the separation is what we have made up. What we have made up is the illusion, the dream, the representations in our mind.
Practicing Presence; is getting back to reality. This process of meditation helps us heal the separation.
Practicing Presence becomes easier as Presence manifests more through the practice of meditation. It is a natural process, and the method of practicing Presence enhances and speeds up the development or revelation of Presence.
By actively extending Presence in meditation, Presence manifests even more. Every moment is your meditation.
Sometimes I visualize Presence extending as light. Or I have a thought of it happening. Is this right practice?
No. Any use of the mind is not extending your Presence. We are learning in this process to go beyond the mind.
Any visualization, affirmation, declaration is using the mind and is not true Meditation.
What we do is simply be in formless Presence and extend Presence to all forms coming into the network of the mind/body.
All thought, all emotion, all concepts, all perception, all physical sensation, every interior form is of the mind, and we extend formless Presence to it.
In maintaining Presence as things arise in the mind, Presence expands or is as if extended to the incoming form and is not overshadowed by it. Fly does not get spider.
The mind projects, Presence extends. You learn to do this by doing it. Our every moment is the meditation because we are Presence in every moment.
The true Self is always there, but usually it is covered over by these projections of the mind. So, the final part of true meditation, the active meditation of practicing Presence is the transition into making every moment our meditation.
Active meditation is not quite the right term. It is non-action in the sense that Presence is effortlessly doing it. Be in Presence. Be Presence ItSelf.
What are some of the biggest problems people have had in practicing Presence?
The biggest spiritual problem from which other spiritual problems arise is that the ego, wanting to make itself more real, twists and turns and uses anything in any way it can to perpetuate itself.
So the big problem is that people can build egocentricity while using spiritual tools or practices but think that they are doing spiritual practice. (Here, we don't mean ego in the psychological sense of how we interact and operate in the world around us.)
That's the biggest problem for all spiritual practice, this practice included.
Another problem is that we are conditioned to try hard, struggle, or somehow allow the limited mind to enter into the process. That is nothing more than an example of the ego problem described above.
In addition, some people don't follow the instructions or they mix in incompatible techniques or practices. This is another example of the ego problem described above.
Most specific problems are examples of this same thing -- the ego entering in and using spiritual practice for its own ends and self glorification. It is going to happen. For many it seems to be part of the process.
Practice Presence with it as it arises. If you make a judgment of it, you make it as if more real. Fly has gotten spider.
If you beat yourself up for some reason or feel guilty, practice Presence with it as soon as it arises.
Fear and guilt are two of the most used and powerful tools of the ego. They are only powerful if you give them energy. They are just like flies. Fly cannot get spider unless you let it or unless Presence is so covered over that the spider doesn't know that it is happening.
Always, in every moment, practice Presence as best you can.
I know that people get into meditation and other spiritual practices for self improvement and to better their lives in general.
That's the motivation that gets us into meditation.
What happens in many practices when we go for powers, or to control or manipulate external circumstances is that the ego turns these around, and we wind up giving energy to perpetuate the mind/ego continuum and not doing true spiritual practice.
True spiritual practice is going beyond the mind, beyond thought, emotion, and concept into Presence and the bringing of Presence into every moment; into everything that we do.
What's beyond the mind? It's your true Self. This true Self, this Presence, then naturally extends into every moment, into every situation. Presence extends; there is a oneness.
The mind projects -- projections are separation. They are not real.
Why a sleep meditation? We are learning that, in an important sense, we are the meditation and that every moment can be our meditation.
If we spend about one third of our lives sleeping, there must be some very valuable function to sleep. So why can't meditation be brought into this large area of our lives also? It can.
In the sitting meditation, we learn how to go beyond thought and concept. In sleep we naturally go beyond thought except when dreaming. This says a lot.
The going beyond thought and concept in sleep wonderfully rejuvenates and energizes us. In dreaming, when in the dream, it seems so real. You only know that it was a dream when you wake up from the dream.
After having some experience with the breath and the So Hum sound, the breathing apparatus and subtle physiology gain in strength and become more resilient.
The sleep meditation is something like the sitting meditation, but no thought or visualization or use of the mind is involved. If thoughts are there or any other mental phenomena, we just meet them with Presence, no judgment, and just let them be.
The process is a simple So-Hum repetition while using our natural going to sleep breath and position. Some find it easier to start this while lying on their backs.
We simply breathe with our natural go to sleep breath and, with each inhalation, we inwardly hear the sound, Sooooo, and, with each exhalation, we inwardly hear the sound, Hummmmm.
Any thought or mental phenomena that come into our awareness we simply meet with Presence, making no judgments and continuing our soft, effortless inner sounding of So Hum. We are practicing Presence as we go off to sleep.
This actually helps you go to sleep.
You may at some time notice, after doing this a while, that when you wake up, your body and mind were asleep, but that you were in Presence.
Your body and mind were asleep, but you were awake.
You may begin to notice that while dreaming, you are awake in the dream. Begin to practice Presence while dreaming.
If this does or does not happen, it doesn't matter. We are all different, and the form of the practice that is best suited to our particular situation will vary according to the situation.
This is not lucid dreaming. In lucid dreaming, you change what is going on in the dream. Here we just practice Presence with whatever is going on. We do not change anything out there in any part of the meditation.
If you wake up in the middle of the night, what a wonderful time to meditate.
Will this teaching interfere with my religion or with practices that I do that use the mind, like visualization?
The method we teach on this page will enhance and deepen whatever religious or spiritual beliefs you may be practicing and will help you improve all areas of your life-experience.
How about the rise of fundamentalism and the attraction of exotic teachings and cults?
One reason for the world-wide spread of fundamentalism and the attraction of exotic teachings and cults is that traditional religions are not fulfilling the functions that they did in the past.
The true function of religion is found in its Latin roots: re and ligare, to bind back to source or origin.
This is what the meditation method taught here does. It gets you back into your source or origin, which we call Presence, and teaches you how to bring Presence into everything you do, into every moment.
Because we have lost contact with the spiritual source or origin within, and because we know down deep that something is missing, we fear never finding our essential spiritual nature again.
This fear brings on a mad search for anything and everything that may fill the gap. We are conditioned and taught to look outside ourselves.
We get into all sorts of activities that create problems and suffering for ourselves and others. We have forgotten where and how to look.
For many it is like chasing their shadows, the more they run after them the further away they get, and what they truly want continues to be elusive.
How about all the greed in the world today? It seems like so many people are just out for themselves.
For many in the world today, life is like a bank that you rob to see what you can get out of it. This leads to the destruction that humans have brought upon themselves, their relationships and their environment.
The meditation taught here gives you the key to the bank. You no longer have to rob the bank. Having the key to the bank gives you unlimited access anytime you want.
It is a bank of infinite resources and supplies. The more you tap into this bank, the more you realize the vastness and depth of Presence.
When you are sure of its vast, infinite resources, you can naturally begin to give of your great wealth and no longer need just to take or see what you can get out of life.
The more you give, the more you will realize that true happiness emerges out of this giving. Compassion and loving kindness spontaneously become a part of your life.
This infinite resource is Presence.
The lessons and teaching on this page will guide you in this process of true meditation. You will find a key to access Presence and then freely give from this Presence.
Does the egoic self go away or is it always there trying to perpetuate itself?
It never was there in the first place, it isn't real. It seems real; the mind makes it up as if it is real. Projections are projections. The reality is the true Self, Presence being totally there in every moment.
This is true living as opposed to projecting from the structures and practices that the egoic self invents to perpetuate itself.
It sounds like the ego is the enemy. Not so. There is no enemy. There is nothing to attack. There is no separation. The projections of the limited mind are not real. There is no self (small "s").
To try to get rid of the ego is itself an act of egocentricity. To attack it is a great compliment to what is just an appearance. All attack compliments the ego.
To try to transcend the ego can be an act of the ego subtly trying to glorify itself. The ego seems transcendent. Presence is imminent. To judge the ego is to make real what is not.
What we thought was the ego is transmuted into Presence. The energy that we have given to the ego, that projection, is now grounded and becomes one with Presence.
Don't worry about it. Through meditation this process naturally occurs. You don't have to think about it, give energy to it, worry about it -- nothing.
Through True Meditation, Presence naturally reveals itself, and it naturally extends into every moment and everything.
The ego can be your friend. You cannot know who you are because who you are is beyond knowledge. You can know who and what you are not.
The ego points to this all the time. Not this. Not that. That's not it either.
What I am talking about is not psychology. I am not talking about the psychological definition of the ego. What psychology defines as the ego may be a healthy extension of Presence into your activity.
Now I'm more confused. Help me understand what the ego is, and how I can best be open to this teaching.
Words are confusing. The important thing is to meditate, to practice Presence. Here's another way to explain it that may help.
Remember how we said at first that when thoughts, or anything else, arise in the mind, they are like clouds. We don't grasp on to them. We don't push them away. We simply let thoughts and all other arisings in the mind, float by like clouds.
And then we learned a better, easier way to handle these arisings in the mind; we learned to practice Presence with them, and then they just float by and disappear like clouds.
The ego is like these clouds that surround us. In some places the cloud is totally opaque and in other places less so. It is as if we think that we are the cloud.
It may be that we don't know anything other than that. That is our limited reality, our limited mind. It is who we think we are.
It is our past experiences that make up our belief systems.
So in this ego structure, we are never in the present moment. We are not experiencing things as they are, because everything is filtered through this cloud.
We are in the past or projecting in the future. This is the dream world that we live in. That's why I say the ego is not now.
True Meditation helps us to wake up from this multiple dream world. Life becomes fuller and more enjoyable. A deep sense of joy emerges from the core of our being.
True Meditation dissolves this cloud. We are clearer. We experience things as they are and not as we make them up to be. Everything gets better.
We realize that our problems, our suffering, fear, guilt, anger only exist in this cloud. Flies get to us, because we are not clear enough to see them coming.
When we see them coming, from having more Presence, more clarity, it's easier to practice Presence. Flies are going to be there, but they just don't have the bite anymore.
When we experience these thoughts and emotions as they are, without judgment, without projecting on to them, we experience them fully.
They are now just what they are, and not what we have made them up to be. We don't grasp on to them anymore, and they float by like clouds.
How about evil, where does it fit into all of this?
There is no evil. Evil is made up by the limited mind and carries other things with it such as doing good deeds to gain merit or rewards from God, or avoiding doing evil so you won't be punished.
These are all none other than cause and effect, action and reaction (karma); having to stay around to work off bad karma or enjoy good karma.
That brings up the question of enlightenment as being something in the future and the concept of reincarnation. All these things are concepts.
When we go beyond thought and concept and into pure Presence, we experience our oneness with everything.
This is the experience of the Absolute which is beyond experience. Being Absolute, everything that is real is the Absolute also.
Evil is made up by the limited mind. The reality is our oneness with God, the Absolute or Presence.
Evil is what the ego/mind has made up to control and manipulate us into thinking that there is something separate from God that is going to get us, control us or do us harm.
The fear brought about by the concept of evil is exactly what the ego uses to control and manipulate us. Guilt, fear, attack are all made up by the ego to perpetuate what was never real in the first place.
If there is no separation, then where is there room for evil?
That's why it is said: "Resist not Evil." (Matthew 5:39). If you resist something, you are making real what is not.
What do you think of the holocaust and things like that? How do you explain them in relation to Presence?
I think that we have not learned enough from things like that. They are extreme examples of robbing the bank mentioned earlier.
Trying to get what you can out of life at any expense, even of others' lives. That is an extreme example of the rampant ego grasping out there for all it can get in any way it can.
Wars and such atrocities are based on fear and trying to get all you can because you think that you are lacking something. I think we can learn from seeing clearly that that is not it.
Then we can look at our own lives and see how some of the things that we may be doing are smaller scale versions of these atrocities. We can learn via negativa -- Not this. Not that.
Practicing this meditation is like getting a key to the bank. After a while, as you continue with the meditation taught here, you realize that practicing Presence, is the bank!
It is the secret of supply in every area of life in the manifest realm.
How about tradition? It's very important to me to be connected to something that has been around for a long time.
We completely agree. What has been around for the longest time and is even beyond time? That's right, the Source, the Presence. Different religions and traditions call it by different names.
Meditation is what gets you into contact with that Source, with Presence.
Times, conditions and our development are different now than they were when these different traditions sprang up and maybe even much later when they flourished.
The great prophets and masters appeared because of the neglect, corruption, degradation and distortion of the teaching regarding the Source or Presence.
Moses, Gautama (the Buddha), Jesus (the Christ), Ibn Arabi, Shankara, Lao Tsu and many other great teachers were manifested by the Source a certain times because something new needed to emerge.
True Meditation is part of the new emerging spirituality of the 21st century. Being connected to the Source, the true Self, the Absolute or Presence means that it has the closest possible connection with the best traditions of spiritual teaching and practice.
However, the spirituality that worked centuries ago may not work so well in these times. Societies are changing so rapidly now that even the spirituality of fifty years ago will not adequately meet our needs today.
The basis of True Meditation is the same as the basis of all the great religions and spiritual traditions. Only the method is different.
The method taught here is a method suited for our times.
What is the limited mind if there is only the One Mind?
The One Mind is just another name for Presence. It's your true Self. In reality, there's no limited mind. In reality there's no egoic self (small "s").
What you think you are, you are not. Who you really are is Presence. You are just caught up in the dream of your made-up reality. When in the dream, it seems real.
When you begin to wake up you will become aware of how the limited mind is making up a representation of what is real. Soon you begin to realize that the limited mind made itself up.
I'm not sure that I can do this. I've done so many bad things. I feel like all this is beyond me.
Down deep we all know that we are this Presence. And what we really want is to be who we really are, to reconnect with Presence, to heal the separation.
Not knowing where to look, because Presence is so obscured and covered over, we get into all sorts of trouble.
We have been taught, conditioned and programmed to look outside ourselves for everything. We don't even know what we want anymore.
We look here and we look there. Sometimes we look so hard out there that we get into trouble.
We need to reconnect, and we don't know where to look, or we forget and we get into trouble sometimes.
So here we are right now. Here is a practice that will work for you if you do it regularly. Here is something that you can do to find what you really want. Give it a chance to give you a chance.
How about the body?
The body is a wonderful instrument, a communication device that can bring us into communion with the Absolute, God or Presence. Meditation is a wonderful way to fine tune the body.
Before you can fine tune or heal the body you must be in it. We are all so drawn outside ourselves from such an early age that our energy is scattered. No wonder we feel separate.
The body is not to be overcome or mastered. We are not a slave to it. If we think that the body is the end goal; if perfect health is our sole goal, we are doomed to failure and suffering.
We are not the body. We are Spirit or Presence that has a body/mind.
There are so many psycho-physical practices such as yoga, martial arts, sport, exercise of different kinds, body work, medicine, drugs and a host of healing modalities available to us at this time. How wonderful!
The problem is that we can easily be caught up into thinking that these things are ends in themselves. Actually all these things are just pointing the way to Presence.
With an over-emphasis on the body, we lose sight of our spiritual nature in thinking that we are just the body. True Meditation and practicing Presence, brings this into balance.
With balance, there is a shift from most of our problems and suffering being of the body/mind to realizing that the cause of our suffering and problems is due to the overshadowing, the obscuring of our essential nature or Presence, by stress, residues of old trauma or fears.
When we begin to realize this, we are motivated to meditate regularly. Just by this shift of awareness, many of our problems begin to drop away.
Through practicing Presence, these fears and obscurations dissolve. The old programmings and conditionings vanish. Self esteem increases, and the fly cannot get the spider anymore.
If this Presence is in everybody, why are there so many wars, so much crime and so many suffering in the world today?
This is a time of accelerated social change. What happens when you put 230 volts through a 115 volt line? Ouch! It gets hot, uncomfortable and may even burn up.
The obvious first thing to do is to relieve the suffering. Instead of increasing our ability to handle change and stress by meditation and other mind/body coping strategies, we put ice where it's hot, a quick fix. Then we need more ice and more ice and more ice.
Soon the pattern is established of always looking outside ourselves for the relief of our ills and suffering.
While suffering we need relief. So we think that the gimmie, gimmie, take, take modus operandi will do it. When actually the opposite is true.
Let's learn from our past errors. First thing that we need to do is increase the flow on the output end. Giving! Give of this energy. Not giving to get, but just giving.
Practicing Presence teaches us how to give of this greatest gift, our Presence, and it manifests through many different forms of giving and action.
Being compassionate, empathizing with others, expressing loving kindness in your thoughts and actions can be forms of giving and practicing Presence.
Practicing Presence not only increases the size of the line and the flow, but it gives you the key to the bank mentioned earlier. Having this key and knowing that at any time you can access the Source of true wealth -- Presence, you will naturally give of it.
Could you explain something about koans?
No, because a koan is a Japanese word and used in Zen Buddhism. Koans are not to be explained, but to be practiced. So we'll give you a koan to work with and then you will know about koans.
Here's the koan of the moment: the practice of Presence is the koan of the moment.
How do you practice Presence in this moment? How do you realize your Self when something arises in your mind-net, you hear a sound, have a thought, emotion, sensation, etc.?
How do you manifest Presence in this moment? When another moment comes along: How do you manifest Presence in that moment?
Every moment is your koan. Practice Presence in every moment.
What do I do now that I have learned this process? What if I have questions or some difficulty with the meditation? How do I go on? Can I get a little group together and teach them this meditation?
Definitely, get a group together, learn this practice together and share experiences. But be sure to follow the True Meditation method given here.
Group meditations are very good. There is a responsibility in putting out a teaching in this manner. We will try to be there for you in the best way we can, whether that be via Internet, email, newsletter, Peter's Pearls, telephone or in person.
On this site, you can see a list of Awareness Groups in Australia >Here.
Not everyone in these groups will be familiar with the approach taught here but it's safe to say all will be encouraged by your interest in authentic spirituality and your attendance.
Now that you are practicing this process, you will take Presence with you wherever you go and into whatever you do.
When several people who are practicing Presence get together, the effect is synergistic and usually a great impetus to spiritual growth.
As we have said, to practice Presence is to cease from labeling and judging. Practicing Presence will enable you see through appearances and acknowledge Presence in every person, place, thing, event, etc.
You actually enliven Presence in that person, place, thing, event, etc. Their Presence is awakened and drawn out by your unconditional love and acceptance.
At this deep level, compassion becomes healing in the widest sense. In that state, your healing influence is primarily based not on doing but on being.
The greatest service you can do for anyone is to acknowledge who they really are.
This is the seeing, not of a limited mind, but of infinite intelligence, wisdom or Prajna and it has a renewing, restoring, healing and transforming effect on all that It gazes upon.
In an old sacred text, practicing Presence is referred to as prayer without ceasing.
Unceasing prayer, the mystics teach us, is to be in a constant state of attentiveness or listening to the still small voice of Spirit, which, as we said earlier, is the depth of your being and an expression of the Godhead no less.
Because of the divine nature of Spirit, It is sometimes referred to as Holy Spirit.
Don't get too hung up on any of these words. All words used here are mere pointers to a Reality beyond language altogether.
There's an old saying. "Prayer is talking to God, meditation is listening." True Meditation takes us beyond thought and concept and into Presence.
True Meditation is the highest form of prayer. When we are totally in Presence, we are (in) communion with God, the Absolute. As the Psalmist says: "Deep calls unto Deep ..."
We become but a vehicle or communication device for Presence, the Holy Spirit, the true Self, call it what you might, to come through us.
In opening to Presence, in complete surrender, in dying to all limited ideas of self, we realize that we are already That. There was never a moment that we were not That.
What is That? -- The eternal One Life underneath all the forms of life.
In the stillness of your Presence, you can feel your own formless and timeless reality as the unmanifested life that animates your physical form.
You can then feel the same life deep within every other human and every other creature. You look beyond the veil of form and separation.
Practicing Presence is communion or worship in "the secret place of the Most High" -- the realisation of oneness, which is love.
The love that you search for everywhere is already present within you. It may be evoked by any number of people or events. A mountain can evoke this love. A sunset can evoke this love. But finally, you must realize you are this love. The source of all love is within you.
It is one of life's great privileges to love and be loved, but the greatest privilege of all is to know beyond any doubt that love is what you are -- that it is your essential nature.
When this infinite formless nature is discovered, it begins to liberate our finite form. It wants to enjoy Itself in this form and to truly love itself in all of its aspects.
As Adyashanti says: "The truly sacred is the love of what is, not a love of what could be. This love liberates what is."
So, what is love? To feel the presence of that One Life deep within yourself and within all creatures. To be it.
Whatever form of spiritual practice we may be doing, we bring more of our spiritual nature to it as a result of True Meditation.
Prajna is an old Sanskrit word that means: intuitive wisdom -- the wisdom that is beyond thought and concept.
Prajna, like Presence, cannot be known -- it is beyond knowledge.
True Meditation takes us beyond thoughts and concepts. Freed of thoughts and concepts, Presence or our True Self emerges.
When this Presence is practiced, no judgment is made of phenomena perceived in awareness. This is deep Wisdom or Prajna.
Prajna is the light of Wisdom's lamp, the fuel of which is the Source.
Uncovering the Light of Presence or True Self of all things is the practice of Prajna.
It is said, Prajna is the sharp edge of the ax as you chop wood. Prajna is the bucket, the shape which water takes, as you carry water.
The True Self, the One Mind, Presence, takes the form of Prajna.
Finding what you never lost is Prajna.
To know that there's no me to be enlightened is Prajna.
To know that there's nothing to be realized is Prajna.
To know that there's nothing to be attained is Prajna.
To know that there is no difference between an enlightened person and an ignorant person is Prajna.
To detach yourself from all clinging is Prajna.
Not to attach to non-clinging is Prajna.
To know that form is emptiness and emptiness is form is Prajna.
Not to become dependent on anything outside yourself is Prajna.
Being One with the present moment, the Now, is Prajna.
The discovery that my true Self is limitless tranquil Presence has to be actualized by its patient rediscovery, and rediscovery, and rediscovery, until all traces of artifice and effort, all sense of attainment, have vanished.
Until it has become in ordinary day-to-day living what it always was in fact: one's natural state.
To consciously breath and So-Hum yourself back into Presence when all's going well is good habit-forming practice. But to practice Presence when all's going badly is better still.
Then the act of homing-in makes a deeper impression, and life in the future is that much less likely to catch you out, or napping.
While it's the easiest thing imaginable to see yourself intermittently as the formless tranquil Presence that is capacity for all forms, it's far from easy to keep up the seeing.
What challenge can compare with the one great adventure that is never completed, yet is ever complete because you can enjoy being at the goal from the very first step along the road!
Finally, you may find the following helpful. Referring to the teachings of Eckhart Tolle, Bill Harris gives some guidance on daily practice and how to discover your life's true purpose. To listen to or download this helpful talk (MP3 - 1 hr. 13mins) >Click Here.
The format and some of the content of this page is based on the teachings of Tom Pritscher. We warmly recommend his book on this subject:
Practicing the Presence: A Course in Meditation Book One
Thou Art, Inc. 1995.
Paperback: 108 pages.
We also heartily recommend a book with a 60-minute CD by Adyashanti on this subject:
True Meditation -- discover the freedom of pure awareness.
Sounds True Inc. 2006
Hardcover, 87 pages
A very helpful CD on True Meditation and the practice of Presence is:
Satsang Intensives with Satyam Nadeen
The Last Piece of the Puzzle 2003
Obtainable from New Freedom Press
Enquiries: R&R Resorts
Another helpful text on this subject is:
Passionate Presence: Experiencing the Seven Qualities of Awakened Awareness
by Catherine Ingram
Hardcover, ISBN 1592400027 Gotham., 2003
Softcover, ISBN 1592400493 Penguin USA, 2004
This material, and the thoughts and concepts expressed here, are not copyright. They are not mine. Understanding or misunderstanding, interpreting or misinterpreting, quoting or misquoting, using or misusing, appropriating or misappropriating, may or may not occur. All is Presence, Awareness, in which all apparent thoughts and concepts, events and actions, arise spontaneously. Pete Sumner, 2007.
The teaching set out on this page is essentially a spiritual practice based on the timeless wisdom of many traditions. Please note our disclaimer.